Regarding our Montreal show: pic.twitter.com/I8dr7OM8SA— Moses Sumney (@MosesSumney) July 3, 2018
American singer-songwriter Moses Sumney was supposed to perform at the Montreal Jazz Festival. However, he decided to cancel his performance because of a blatant display of racism.
The musician cancelled his appearance after the festival organizers decided to allow performances of the musical show “Slav” at the festival. The racist musical theatre production described itself as “theatrical odyssey based on slave songs.” It makes white people sing song about slavery, dressing some of them as field slaves and cotton pickers.
Their presence at the festival was naturally disturbing for people of color and people who condemned racism and cultural appropriation. Despite protests all over Canada, the music festival organizers defended the performance. They also said the organizers are “truly fortunate” that the director (of the racist musical) chose Montreal Jazz for its world premiere.
This is when Sumney decided to withdraw himself for the festival, citing how a black woman was slapped by one attendee of the production while she was protesting.
The 28-year-old also mentioned he could not perform at the festival “on a day sandwiched between Canada Day and Independence Day, two bittersweet holidays that have long left black, brown, and indigenous voices out.”
He explained he cannot perform at the festival “in good conscience."
The jazz festival’s media relations director, Greg Kitzler, said, “We respect his decision and hope Moses Sumney will perform at the festival in a near future.”
He declined to comment on whether the festival would continue to support the racist musical but mentioned a press release that was planned to release would clarify their position.
Nevertheless, Sumney decided to perform at La Rosa with his band and offered discounted tickets for his fans.
Fans on Twitter couldn’t help but respect Sumney for taking this brave step against bigotry.
Much respect!— Veronica Taylor (@stylehigh75) July 3, 2018
I respect you even more as an artist 🙌🏽— bleu✌🏽 (@DarkCollegeGuy) July 3, 2018
I'd never heard of this shameful production before your refusal to perform, as I'm sure many others hadn't. Thank you for raising awareness and thank you for taking a stand, I'll be checking out your music tonight. Best regards!— Kelly Anne Kanye🤦 (@UmPardonMeBut) July 3, 2018
Disgusted and disappointed (but not surprised) my hometown wouldn’t say/do something about the performance even after people protested. You made the right decision!— ☆joanna☆ (@joannakanex) July 3, 2018
woke king— shaddy aka joon's guardian angel 🌙✨ (@joonsbaby) July 3, 2018
✊🏾— Marcus J. Moore (@MarcusJMoore) July 3, 2018
this is absolutely top stuff, strength and power to you 💚💚💚— Ru$$ell Warfield (@russellwarfield) July 3, 2018
Black people are tired of slave narratives. Also, a protester was assaulted. That's good enough reason to pull out of the show.— roll that beautiful bean footage (@kimbalucy) July 3, 2018
I like it when people stand up for what they believe in. Many lessons can be learned here.— HEYJAY (@overjoyed_joy) July 3, 2018
Thank you @MosesSumney I can only hope that the other performers @MtlJazzFestival show the same respect and dignity #MosesSumney #CanadaDay #IndependenceDay #Indegenous #Black #POC #WOC #RobertLePage #BettyBonnifasi #MontrealJazzFest #SLAV #SlaveSongs #CulturalAppropriation https://t.co/fvh1yDV7t9— Cherry the Geek (@cherry_LA) July 3, 2018
Thank you @moses for standing up against the Montreal Jazz Festival for supporting a production that was completely insensitive and shameful to black people.#montrealjazzfest #slav #protest #mosessumney @ Montreal, Quebec— Wayne Tennant (@tennantmusic) July 3, 2018
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Getty Images, Burak Cingi/Redferns